Snark's Baltic Odyssey - 2023 

Explore the beautiful coasts, picturesque canal side towns, vibrant capital cities, remote nature reserves as we voyage through England, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Sweden this summer. With coastal sailing, gentle island hopping and cruising the inland canals, accompanied by lots of good food and drink and stimulating company.  There is something for everybody.

Following our successful circumnavigation of Britain in 2022 we will be going further afield in 2023 with a voyage to Copenhagen and back. The trip is split into ten legs of 7 to 14 days each. We have arranged the legs so you can choose to join us for one or two weeks at a time, with the Baltic cruise being a two week event.

 

Baltic Odyssey.jpg

 

Itinerary (updated 23/10/22) for more detail click on highlighted title

Leg 1     Dartmouth to Boulogne               13 May - 20 May             Coastal                              225 nm

Sail along the spectacular south coast of England stopping at iconic ports and harbours and across the busy English Channel to the historic French port of Boulogne sur Mer

 

Leg 2     Boulogne to Amsterdam              21 May – 29 May            Coastal and canal            230 nm

Sail up the coast of France and Belgium to enter the Dutch canal system at Vlissingen and through the polders and canals to Amsterdam.

 

Crew break

             

Leg 3     Amsterdam to Groningen            3 June – 10 June              Inland seas                      130 nm

Leave Amsterdam into the inland seas of Markermeer and Ijsselmeer and north across the tidal Waddenzee to the West Frisian Islands then through the Friesland canals to the picturesque city of Groningen.

 

Leg 4     Groningen to Gluckstadt              11 June – 18 June          Inland seas                         145 nm

From the beautiful city of Groningen sail out into the Jade estuary, hopping over the sand banks through the nature reserves of the Waddensee, and up the river Elbe to the historic German town of Gluckstadt near Hamburg.

 

Crew break

             

Leg 5     Gluckstadt to Copenhagen          24 June – 9 July               Canal and islands              485 nm

Head through the Keil Canal into the Baltic Sea for a two week cruise through the Danish Islands via Aarhus and Helsingborg in Sweden to moor in the very centre of the great city of Copenhagen.

 

Crew break

             

Leg 6     Copenhagen to Gluckstadt          15 July – 22 July               Islands and canal             230 nm

From beautiful Copenhagen sail south through the Danish islands and Kiel canal to Gluckstadt on the Elbe river.

 

Leg 7     Gluckstadt to Groningen              23 July – 30 July               Inland seas                        130 nm

Meander along the watts that cut through the sand banks and nature reserves between the East Frisian Islands and the German coast visiting the remote East Frisian Islands before sailing up the Ems river and canal to the beautiful city of Groningen.

 

Crew break

             

Leg 8     Groningen to Haarlem                   5 Aug – 12 Aug                Canals and Inland seas   180 nm

Cruise along the canals, through the picturesque towns and cities of Friesland into the Waddenzee and on through the Ijsselmeer and Markermeer past Amsterdam to the historic city of Harlem in Holland.

Leg 9     Haarlem to Boulogne                    13 Aug – 20 Aug              Canal and coastal            245 nm

Travel down through the canals and polders and out into the southern North Sea, down the Dutch, Belgian and French coasts, through the Dover Straits to Boulogne sur Mer.

Crew break

Leg 10   Boulogne to Dartmouth               26 Aug – 2 Sept               Coastal                              225 nm

Cross the busy English Channel to the beautiful south coast of England for a cruise back to Snark’s home port of Dartmouth.

 

from     £1,940/person/week

including all of the vessel costs, full bed and board including drinks etc. but exclude travel to and from the vessel and any excursions or meals ashore etc. Further details of the accommodation and catering are elsewhere on the web site.

Getting to us (and back home)

We don't arrange travel to and from the embarkation ports, but we have tried to choose locations that can be accessed by public transport.  All of the locations can be accessed by train from the UK. Typical travel times ranging from 4 to 8 hours so possible on the embarkation and disembarkation days.  Where train trips are too long there should be a good budget airline available. 

Approx travel times from St Pancras to embarkation ports

                                   car          train         plane

Dartmouth                4.45        5.15            -

Boulogne                 4.00         4.40            -

Amsterdam              7.30         4.10          2.30

Groningen               9.00         6.30          4.45*     *plane to Amst. Train onwards

Gluckstadt              12.30       10.30         3.25        via Hamburg

Copenhagen          15.30       16.30         3.30

Haarlem                    7.30         4.30         2.45

When we plan a voyage, we prepare a typical passage plan and itinerary to check the legs are feasible and that each includes an interesting range of activities and attractions. Many factors will influence the final itineraries for each leg; wind, sea state, canal water levels, passenger preferences, berth availability and a big slice of serendipity. So, the detailed descriptions below are aimed to give you a taste of what to expect, things will change. After all, it wouldn't be an adventure if it you knew it all in advance!

'.........but the joy of a trip like this is the flexibility. Being at the behest of mother nature means things always have to be kept relatively loose.

As a chronic over-planner and self-confessed control freak, there was something unbelievably freeing about knowing that as long as I got to ....... in time for my flight home - I had no obligation to be anywhere or do anything for the next 10 days. It was a pretty unfamiliar feeling, I’ll confess.  While I’m well-travelled internationally .........., it’s rare for me to take a trip that’s more focused on journey than destination. This took some getting used to, as most of the time our daily plan was simply ‘get to this mooring point’ or ............ researching things to see in upcoming towns or looking for swimming spots along our way, .....' 

 

Marthe de Ferrer  for Euronews Travel  Oct 2022

Leg 1     Dartmouth to Boulogne               13 May - 20 May            Coastal                              225 nm

We start our odyssey at our home port of Dartmouth, boarding will take place from 17:00 on the Town Jetty in the middle of town. There is long term parking available at the park and ride for those who want to drive to Dartmouth and return by public transport.  Perhaps the most exciting ways to arrive are by train changing from the main line to the steam railway at Paignton to Kingswear and then over on the ferry to the Town Jetty. Following your safety briefing we will be serving dinner on board and there is time to get to know your fellow guests.

 

The first day’s sailing is a long one across Lyme Bay, around the infamous Portland Bill and into Portland harbour to anchor for the night.  We will depart Dartmouth around 09:30 after breakfast and depending on the weather sail or motor across the bay, keeping an eye open for the many dolphins that live in these waters. We must arrive at Portland Bill at the correct time, around 18:30, to avoid the dangerous turbulent waters of the Race and make it to the anchorage with time for a well-earned dinner.

Portland to Poole is a shorter distance and is best done with the tide.  This starts in our favour at around 14:30 so we plan to set off after lunch.  This gives time for a run ashore in the tender, ‘Boo’, for a walk on Chesil beach or even a sea swim for the braver ones. The passage takes us very close in around St Albans Head to avoid the overfalls on St Albans Ledge and then past Swanage and round Peveril Point and the Old Harry chalk stacks into Studland Bay.  We may anchor in the bay for an evening on the beach or at the Banks or motor into Poole harbour, dodging the chain ferry, to moor up on the Town Quay if there is space. Very convenient for an after dinner sojourn to the quayside pubs!

The tides again determine the time of departure from Poole.  The east going tide starts at Hurst Castle, the entrance to the Solent at 14:30 so to make the most of it we will leave at around 12:00 aiming to sail across Christchurch Bay and down the Solent to the anchorage at Wittering in Chichester harbour by 20:00 a couple of hours before high water.

Each day the high tide shifts forward around 40 minutes.  This means the favourable tides up the Channel get later and later each day.  For the long passage from Wittering to Eastbourne we need all the help we can get from the tide and so will leave slightly before the east going starts at 12:00 to clear Beachy Head and lock into Sovereign Marina by 21:00 before the ebb becomes too strong.  We will prepare and serve both lunch and dinner underway so we are not too late to bed that evening ready for an early start the next morning. 

By early we mean getting up at 06:00 to lock out by 07:00 so we can pick up a full tide plus a bit (the tides in the Dover Straits favour east going traffic) as we sail first to Dungeness and then across the busy shipping lanes to Boulogne sur Mer by 15:30 where we plan to berth on the town side of the old harbour, a short walk into the ancient walled town and its many cafes and restaurants.

We have a spare day on this leg to accommodate poor weather or just have an extra day enjoying the pleasures of a French seaside town before heading home.  We ask guests to disembark by 10:00 to give us time to prepare the boat and start provisioning for the next group who will arrive the following afternoon. Getting from Boulogne back to the UK is pretty simple, a train to Calais and hop on the Eurostar to St Pancras or the ferry to Dover. Don’t forget you will need your passports both when we arrive in Boulogne and to get back into the UK!

Leg 2     Boulogne to Amsterdam              21 May – 29 May            Coastal and canal            230 nm

Our next leg starts in the old harbour at Boulogne easily accessible from the UK via Eurostar or ferry to Calais, a local train to Gare de Ville in Boulogne and a short walk to our berth.  Direct ferries to Boulogne have been curtailed but might be available in 2023. Boarding is between 17:00 and 19:00.  Following your safety briefing we will be serving dinner on board and there is time to get to know your fellow guests. 

For the next three days we will be sailing northeast along the French and Belgian coasts. The favourable tides start around mid-day meaning we will depart each overnight stop in the late morning. Time for a leisurely breakfast of local croissants and other French delicacies.  

The first will take us from Boulogne around Cap Gris-Nez, past Calais and Graveline to the large harbour at east Dunkerque. There will be time to stock up with more goodies before departing at midday for the small port of Blankenburg in Belgium, arriving at around 18:00 in time to enjoy a leisurely dinner on board.  

The third day takes us furth east, leaving after lunch for a short passage past the busy ports of Ostend and Zeebrugge to Vlissingen and the lock into the Kanal door Walcheren and on to moor late afternoon in the picturesque Zeeland town of Middelburg. There should be time for some evening sightseeing before an early night ready to start the passage through the Zeeland polders early the next morning.

From Middelburg we will motor to the north end of the canal at Veerse and into the Veerse Meer.  At the east end of the Meer we lock into the tidal Oostershelde. Dodging the sand banks and commercial barges we will arrive at the Kammer locks to enter the fresh water Volkerak and on through the locks at Volkeraksluisen to moor up in the pretty little town of Willemstad mid-afternoon.

The next two days will take us deep into the Dutch canal system following the Staande Mast Route.  While this has the advantage of allowing us to keep our rigging in place it does involve passing  a considerable number of lifting bridges some on motorways and railways are restricted in their opening times, others are synchronised to a accommodate convoys of boats to pass through together.  Help with lines and fenders will be most welcome during this stage.

Leaving Willemstad we will pass through the industrial hinterlands of Rotterdam and Dordrecht, zig zagging through the canals until we reach the ancient city of Gouda to moor up for the night.  We should be there mid afternoon and will not need to leave until late morning so there should be plenty of time for sightseeing and cheese eating!

The second part of the Staande Mast will take us slowly through numerous bridges and junctions, past various towns and meers until we reach the Nieuwe Meer.  Here we will wait until midnight when we join the famous midnight convoy through the canals of Amsterdam arriving at our final mooring in Houthaven at 02:00 in the morning.

From here it is a short walk the following morning to Amsterdam central station and a high speed Eurostar train back to London just four hours instead of the eight days it has taken to slow travel from Boulogne to Amsterdam! If you are heading to the North then the overnight ferry to Newcastle from Amsterdam is a great way to get home.

 

The crew will be taking a well earned break in Amsterdam to recharge our batteries before the next guests arrive. 

Leg 3     Amsterdam to Groningen            3 June – 10 June              Inland seas                           130 nm

The embarkation for leg 3 will be at Houthaven,  just over a mile from Amsterdam Central Station, between 17:00 and 19:00. Following your safety briefing we will be serving dinner on board and there is time to get to know your fellow guests. 

We depart at around 09:00 into the Nordzeekanal, head east through the busy docks of Amsterdam to the Orangesliuse locks and out into the Markermeer, a shallow inland sea about 23 miles long. Winds willing we will sail the length of the meer passing through the lock at Krabbersgat into the Ijsselmeer and mooring up at the picturesque town of Enkhuisen mid-afternoon, with plenty of sightseeing time before dinner onboard. 

Our next passage takes us 24 miles across the Ijsselmeer to the sea locks at Kornwerderzand and out into the tidal Waddenzee. The channels and harbours here need careful planning and are best tackled three hours either side of high tide which will be around 10:30 and 22:00.  So, in order to reach Harlingen our next stopover at a suitable time we need to enter the Waddenzee at around 18:00 getting to the harbour at 19:00 in time for a late dinner.

We will only have a brief time in this pretty town as our next day takes us to Ameland, one of the West Frisian Islands. In order to cross the sand banks, we will need to leave Harlingen around 09:30 and will arrive by 15:30. From the tiny harbour on the south coast it is less than a mile across the island to the spectacular white sand beach that stretches 6 miles along the north shore. Time for a swim in the North Sea or hire a bike to cycle around the island before dinner.

The tides dictate that we leave at around 10:00 for the short sail over the sand banks to Lauwersoog on the north Freisland coast where we will lock in to the Lauwersmeer. Here we join the Staande Mast Route again.  Depending on our progress on previous days we may press on along the winding canal to Groningen or moor up at the start of the canal to make the six-hour passage the following day.

 

Groningen is a beautiful historic city and well worth more than a couple of hours. So, we anticipate arriving here with a day in hand and mooring up in the centre of the old town to allow plenty of time to explore.  Meals will always be available on board for those who want them, or you can dine ashore in one of the many quality restaurants this university city has to offer. Just let us know.

We ask guests to disembark by 10:00 to give us time to prepare the boat and start provisioning for the next group who will arrive the following afternoon. Getting from Groningen back to the UK is pretty simple.  There is a direct train to Amsterdam from where you can hop on the Eurostar to St Pancras. For northern guests there is an excellent overnight ferry from Amsterdam to Newcastle or from Rotherdam to Hull.

Leg 4     Groningen to Gluckstadt              11 June – 18 June          Inland seas                         145 nm

We should be moored in the centre of Groningen for embarkation between 17:00 and 19:00.  Following your safety briefing we will be serving dinner on board and there is time to get to know your fellow guests. 

We depart Groningen around 10:00 heading along the canal to Delfzijl. Here we enter the tidal river Jade to sail north to the East Frisian island of Borkum, the first of four overnight stops at increasingly remote harbours and anchorages as we travel east along the coast of Lower Saxony. As with leg 3 the channels and harbours here need careful planning and are best tackled three hours either side of high tide. This give a limited passage time each day but does mean there is more time to explore the beautiful islands and nature reserves of this wild and remote part of the North Sea coast.  There is a saying locally that God invented time, but he didn’t mention haste!

From Borkum we have a 06:30 start next morning to get to Nordeney while the tide is still high.  We should be moored up by late morning giving plenty of time to head across the island to the spectacular white sand beaches for a swim or hire a bike to get to the far end of the dunes to the seal reserve. Meals will be available on board but for those who want them we can provide packed lunches.

Another early morning hop will take us to Langeoog our next port of call. Like the others this island is basically one big sand dune with a maximum elevation of 15 metres! It is largely car free and a great place to explore by bike or foot.  We have to wait for the next tide the following day to make the last hop through the watts the narrow channels through the sand banks), over the sand banks to the remote anchorage at the east end of Wangerooge. Here Snark will dry out on the sand at low tide allowing walks ashore to the huge sandy beach and the seal and bird sanctuaries. We can arrange a barbeque lunch on the beach if the weather plays ball.

Early the next morning we head out through the gat (outlet between the islands) into the North Sea and round the remaining sand banks and islands to the entrance of the Elbe River and up to the port of Cuxhaven, arriving in time for a late lunch and a relaxing afternoon.  If we are running short on days we may press on to Gluckstadt our final stop but this will be against a strong ebb tide and so very slow. All being well we can do the run up to Gluckstadt the following morning with the flood tide arriving at this pretty German town in time for lunch and with plenty of time to explore the town and surrounding countryside before dinner.

Disembarkation is at 10:00 the following morning.  Getting from Gluckstadt back to the UK is pretty simple.  There is a direct train to Hamburg which has direct flights to the UK. Hamburg also has fast trains south to meet up with Eurostar, about ten hours to St Pancras. For northern guests it is about 6 hours by train to Amsterdam for the overnight ferry from Amsterdam to Newcastle or from Rotherdam to Hull.

The crew will be taking a well earned break in Gluckstadt to recharge our batteries before the next guests arrive.      

Leg 5     Gluckstadt to Copenhagen          24 June – 9 July               Canal and islands  485 nm

 

We leave Gluckstadt at 08:00 to catch the ebb tide flowing down th Elbe to Brunnsbuttel the southern end of the Kiel Canal or to give it its proper name the Nord-Ostsee-Kanal.  We should be able to lock in a cover the first part of the canal in one day, mooring up overnight on a quiet side branch. The following day we will complete the transit, berthing at Holtenau on the Forde an estuary leading to the Baltic. 

From here we have twelve days of relaxing sailing around the Danish Islands probably via Aarhus and Helsingborg to Copenhagen.  Without the constraints of passage times, we will be able to concentrate of sailing between the many small ports and anchorages the area has to offer.  There will be time to run ashore by tender to wander on the beautiful islands and beaches, to swim and for the occasional beach barbeque.  We will have a couple of days in harbour mid trip for provisioning and housekeeping activities but apart from that we can go where the wind and whim take us. 

Our ultimate destination is the moorings at Amelia haven in Copenhagen, right next to the Royal Palaces and opposite the new opera house.  We plan to be here a day early to give guests time to explore the centre of this beautiful capital city before heading of home.

Disembarkation is at 10:00 the following morning.  Getting from Copenhagen back to the UK is pretty simple by air. For the environmentally conscious traveller the train journey of 16.5 hours could be a bit daunting however its made much more interesting by taking a break in one of the many fascinating cities the trip passes through on the way.

The crew will be taking a well-earned break in Copenhagen to recharge our batteries before the next guests arrive.      

Leg 6     Copenhagen to Gluckstadt          15 July – 22 July               Islands and canal     230 nm

Join us at Amelia Haven in the very heart of beautiful Copenhagen boarding is between 17:00 and 19:00.  Following your safety briefing we will be serving dinner on board and there is time to get to know your fellow guests, maybe take an evening stroll through the beautiful royal palaces to the bars and cafes of Nyhavn.

On the first morning we will depart Copenhagen mid-morning to start our cruise south through th Danish Archipelago towards the Kiel Canal.  We have allowed four days to cover the 130 miles so there’s plenty of time for sailing, sightseeing and swimming or whatever else takes our fancy.  The route will probably take us through the Storstrommen and Langerlandsbaelt, the straits between between Sjaelland, Lolland and Fyn.  Here we can anchor off grid amongst the many secluded and uninhabited islands as well as visiting pretty towns and villages.  

Day five will see us locking into the Kiel Canal to start our two day passage from the Baltic through the canal and into the River Elbe and the historic town of Gluckstadt. Disembarkation is at 10:00 on the final morning.  Getting from Gluckstadt back to the UK is pretty simple.  There is frequent train to Hamburg which has direct flights to the UK. Hamburg also has fast trains south to meet up with Eurostar, about ten hours to St Pancras. For northern guests it is about 6 hours by train to Amsterdam for the overnight ferry from Amsterdam to Newcastle or from Rotherdam to Hull.

Or why not stay on board for the next weeks voyage through the East Frisian Islands to Groningen.

Leg 7     Gluckstadt to Groningen              23 July – 30 July               Inland seas                       130 nm

Boarding at the old harbour in Gluckstadt will be between 17:00 and 19:00. Following your safety briefing we will be serving dinner on board and there is time to get to know your fellow guests. 

We leave Gluckstadt at 07:00 to catch the ebb tide flowing down th Elbe to arrive in  Cuxhaven by lunchtime.  Time to rent a bike and head out to the sand dunes and maybe across the sands at low tide to Neuwerk to solve the Riddle of the Sands.  We will depart at dawn the next morning heading out on the ebb into the North Sea, around the outlying islands and sand banks of the mouth of the Elbe and back into the Jade River and the pretty Wangerland fishing harbour at Hookseil. And hopefully to stock up with fresh North Sea fish!

Our next passage takes us back down the Jade and into  the tidal Waddensee, between the East Frisian Islands and the mainland German coast. The navigating the channels (watts) and harbours here needs careful planning and they are best tackled three hours either side of high tide.  Indeed, in some areas the restrictions of the nature reserves and national park forbid sailing over the banks at any other time.  We will leave Hookseil around 13:30 to arrive at Minseneroog as the tide is making for our passage through the Menseroog Fahtwattwasser (or watt!) into the Wangerooger Watt and Harleseiler Watt at high tide and on to berth at Neuharlingseil on the mainland coast by 19:00 for a late dinner. 

The following morning will be spent in port awaiting the tide to head over the next series of watts to the sheltered harbour on the south coast of the Frisian island of Norderney early evening.  There should be time to explore ashore and perhaps walk the ½ mile across the island to the huge white sand beach on the North Sea coast for a lunchtime picnic and sea swim. The afternoon high tide will take us on our last watt passage across the Memmert and Borkumer watts to berth at Borkum at sunset.

An early night will be in order as the following day we will be leaving Borkum at dawn to run up the Eems River with the tide Delfzijl and into the canal that will take us to Groningen arriving around 14:30 in time to explore this beautiful Dutch city. Dinner will be available on board for those who want it, or you can dine ashore in one of the many quality restaurants this university city has to offer. Just let us know.

We ask that guests disembark by 10:00. Getting from Groningen back to the UK is pretty simple.  There is a direct train to Amsterdam from where you can hop on the Eurostar to St Pancras. For northern guests there is an excellent overnight ferry from Amsterdam to Newcastle or from Rotherdam to Hull

The crew will be taking a well-earned break in Groningen to recharge our batteries before the next guests arrive.                    

Leg 8     Groningen to Harlem                    5 Aug – 12 Aug                Canals and Inland seas    180 nm

We should be moored in the centre of Groningen for embarkation between 17:00 and 19:00.  Following your safety briefing we will be serving dinner on board and there is time to get to know your fellow guests and maybe a stroll along the canal bank to one of the many cafes and bars of this university city.

We depart Groningen around 10:00 heading north along the meandering Reitdeep navigation through numerous lifting bridges past the pretty village of Zoutkamp into the Slenk Meer in the Lauwersmeer National Park and up the Dokkumerdeip to moor at Lunegat overnight.  The following morning we will pass through the Willem Loressluis lock into the canal system and on to Dokkum for a lunch time stop to explore this pretty Freisland town before heading on to a mooring in the busy city of Leeuwarden.

The last part of the northern Stadt maast route (standing mast route) will take us out into the tidal Waddenzee at Harlingen.  We want to lock out to sea three hours before high water which is 17:10, so we will leave Leeuwersmeer at around 10:00.  Once into the Waddenzee we will head south to the sea lock into the Ijsselmeer at Kornwerderzand . We will berth overnight here before setting off south through the Markermeer and the busy port of Amsterdam, back into the Staadt Maast route to moor up in Harlem. 

We ask guests to disembark by 10:00 to give us time to prepare the boat and start provisioning for the next group who will arrive the following afternoon. Getting from Harlem back to the UK is pretty simple.  There is a direct train to Amsterdam from where you can hop on the Eurostar to St Pancras. For northern guests there is an excellent overnight ferry from Amsterdam to Newcastle or from Rotherdam to Hull.

Or why not stay onboard as we continue the voyage through the Netherlands and down the North Sea coast to Boulogne.

Leg 9     Harlem to Boulogne                      13 Aug – 20 Aug              Canal and coastal        245 nm

Boarding in Haarlem will be between 17:00 and 19:00. After your safety briefing we will have dinner and a chance to get to know your fellow guests and maybe take an evening stroll through this beautiful city.

The next two days will take us deep into the Dutch canal system following the Staande Mast Route.  While this has the advantage of allowing us to keep our rigging in place it does involve passing a considerable number of lifting bridges some on motorways and railways are restricted in their opening times others are synchronised to a accommodate convoys of boats to pass through together.  Help with lines and fenders will be most welcome during this stage.

We will set off at around 08:00 the next morning to meander through the picturesque countryside of Holland, hopefully reaching Dordrecht by the early evening.  The next day we will push on into the Hollandsch Diep and through the locks at Volkeraksluisen along the Volkerak until we will arrive at the Kammer locks.  Here we enter the tidal Oostershelde dodging the sand banks and commercial barges to enter the fresh water Veerse Meer and on via the Kanal door Walcheren to Middelburg, the picturesque capital of Zeeland.

The second part of this leg takes us out into the southern North Sea and into the English Channel.  The passages become dominated by tidal considerations, wind strength and direction and sea state. The tides run along the coast at up to 2 knots a significant factor for a vessel averaging 6. 

So, to catch the ebb tide running west we need to lock out of the canal at 07:00 which means leaving Middelburg at 06:00!  We should however reach Blankenburg in Belgium by lunch giving time to explore the area in the afternoon. The historic city of Bruge is just 15 minutes train ride from Blankenburg and well worth a visit.  

The next morning we will caste off at 07:30 to catch the west going tide down the coast, past Oostende to the busy port of Dunkerque arriving mid afternoon. The last days sailing will start at 08:00 and take us further along the French coast past Calais and round Cap Gris Nez to the port of Boulogne Sur Mer in the English Channel. 

We have a spare day on this leg to accommodate poor weather or just have an extra day enjoying the pleasures of a French seaside town before heading home.  Guests disembark at 10:00. Getting from Boulogne back to the UK is pretty simple, a train to Calais and hop on the Eurostar to St Pancras or the ferry to Dover.

The crew will be taking a well-earned break in Boulogne to recharge our batteries before the next guests arrive.      

Leg 10   Boulogne to Dartmouth               26 Aug – 2 Sept               Coastal                              225 nm

Boarding in Boulogne will be between 17:00 and 19:00. After your safety briefing and dinner there will be time to get to know your fellow guests and perhaps take an evening stroll into the ancient heart of Boulogne. 

The voyage down the English Channel will be dictates largely by the tides and wind speed and direction.  The tides can run at up to 3 knots with or against us so timing is everything.  The first day we will face the daunting challenge of crossing the busiest shipping lanes in the world.  We will depart at 11:00 at around slack tide and head straight across the east going lane to mid channel Colbert buoy then diagonally across the west going lane to south of Dungerness from where we will carry the west going tide down to our first stop at Sovereign Marina in Eastbourne, arriving around 19:30

The next morning we will lock out mid-morning to make the short hop around Beachy Head and past the white cliffs of the Seven Sisters to Shoreham through the sea locks into the canal. Another mid-morning start will get us to the tidal gate south of Selsey Bill before the east going tide starts, then into the Solent with the first of the flood. Depending on our progress we will berth at either Portsmouth or Cowes in the early evening. 

The critical requirement on the passage from Cowes to Poole is the tide through the Hurst Narrows and down the Needles Channel.  This will start running west at 11:20 so we will lave Cowes at 10:00 and pick up the strong west going tide as we pass through the dramatic narrows past the defensive forts and across Christchurch Bay into Poole Harbour to moor up on the Town Quay early afternoon giving plenty of time to explore Poole’s historic harbour front cafes and bars!

We will leave Poole late morning on the following day to pick up the ebb round the dramatic headlands of Handfast, Peveril and St Albans and along the Jurassic coast arriving in Weymouth at 16:30.

The last passage starts with us rounding the notorious Portland Bill and is timed to avoid the dangerous race (overfalls) and get us across Lyme Bay for dinner moored up in our home port of Dartmouth. 

 

There is a spare day in this leg to cover adverse weather conditions.  This might be spent cruising the beautiful River Dart or in port at one of our earlier stops.  Guests disembark at 10:00 on the last day at the Town Pontoon in Dartmouth.